Online store and the mobile user
Online store and the mobile user – the topic of e-stores is discussed fairly frequently on blogs and SEO industry forums. Until recently, it was a frequent practice of mobile users to browse the offer of online stores on smartphones and tablets and finalizing transactions on traditional computing devices, e.g. computers and laptops. So, what’s changed? Nothing much, apart from the fact that most transactions are done directly on mobiles and tablets now. In other words, purchasing things on your phone has become the norm. For some reason we’ve adapted to our smart-devices so much that our trust in the devices has significantly increased.
But let’s not speculate any longer and try to analyse the factors which instigated this phenomenon:
- Firstly, our reliance on the devices and constant need to be online has risen. Users want to be up to date with all information published on the web, they want to be present on social media’s, they feel the need to play mini-games and text at the same time. They want to quickly order a product that they find interesting when browsing the web. And if you’re not working by a computer every day, then such fast purchases are now possible. Even browsing itself has become the part of our lives: it doesn’t matter if we’re on a break or sat on the toilet, or even eat dinner or hang out with friends. Smart-phones are always present, no matter what time or place.
That’s because the possibilities on smart-phones are endless, and it’s precisely why we’re addicted to them. In the end, if we do everything on our phones, there’s no surprise that some feel like without a hand if they’re separated from their beloved devices just for brief minutes. Our over-reliance on these devices has increased, and if anything, we consider them as more secure than PCs & Macs – a part of our personality and lifestyle. Not to mention that our transactions can now be made a lot faster than on traditional computer devices, because year by year smart-phones are upgraded and equipped with superior technology.
- This brings us to another point: development of the latest technologies. The latest smartphones and tablets are multifunctional devices, adapted to many hours of using and browsing. They can withstand a lot of general usage and issues such as overheating, slowness or lag have disappeared from our understanding of how phones work. Instead, these devices are intuitive, equipped with large, flat screens, the best processors, responsive sensors, hard-drives, applications which facilitate browsing and purchasing via the internet. It’s truly hard to imagine that the newest Samsung or iPhone devices are as powerful as computers of early 00’s. This means that both online store and the mobile users also change year by year, and we need to adapt our own e-stores to these changes.
Perhaps the extensive use of Wi-fi has availed this use of mobiles – in the end access to internet has now essentially become infinite. Many network providers like Vodafone, O2, EE etc. have expanded their internet packages as well, if you think about it the recent minimal standard of internet nowadays is 3 Gigabytes. Likewise, the internet browsing has become more fluent, smooth and fast thanks to introduction of 4G access.
- Creating mobile versions of websites – Websites created purely for mobiles/tablets are a superior choice. They allow better responsiveness, and better access in general. In the end there’s a big difference between use of a mouse on a desktop-launched website via Chrome and use of your fingers across a small-screen via a Safari browser. Each website needs to be appropriately optimised so that the websites on our little devices have features which facilitate our fingers to jump from one sub-page to another. So, the owner of an online store who wants to obtain traffic from mobile devices must adapt his website to the needs of smartphone users. This is a crucial step, because if a website is not adapted and displayed in the standard desktop format it will take far longer for the user to browse through it, it might be more tedious and frustrating as well, so you don’t want to risk that. The solutions are twofold: creating a mobile version of the website, which will not contain all elements of the ‘regular’ desktop website OR construction of a website that’s responsive and fitting for both desktops and mobiles (in other words, finding the middle ground). Responsiveness means the website has the ability to adapt to screens with different resolutions and the elements on each webpage being large enough so that they fit the smaller screens.
Online store and the mobile user – what elements of the website should be improved?
Positioning a mobile website can be a very complex process, depending on the website. But in order to instantly attract new audiences and make them think highly of your website, you can replace/modify a few elements on the website that need urgent actions:
Time of page loading
The mobile website should operate quickly and efficiently, this applies especially to online stores. In the end, if a user enters your website and is met by lag and delay then it’ll cause him a lot of frustration. These days we’ve gotten so used to fast internet that stumbling across slow websites genuinely causes anger and annoyance. This is why the expectations of contemporary online users have significantly risen. If a user does not reach both the given product, its description and photos within 5 seconds they’re way more likely to quit the search and move on to other sites. The same goes for the process of online purchases and electronic bank transactions.
When we formerly discussed the topics of online stores we made it clear that ads which come in the form of pop-ups can be very damaging to a website. These are certainly one of the most annoying ads for a user, especially when they are difficult to close down or minimise. Owners of online stores or websites which rely on pop ups should therefore significantly reduce the use of such ads, and preferably replace them with other means of advertising. Check out our previous posts here to get a full list of the consequences that pop ups may cause.
Graphics and films
On the one hand, graphics and films increase the attractiveness and appeal of a website, on the other hand they make it difficult for a user to see/receive other content on the website, especially when they view it on a mobile device. This is because some complex graphics, films and animations can be heavily demanding, straining the user’s internet and device, slowing everything around them as a result. Therefore, we suggest that if you want to rely on such graphical elements, then make sure they are made/formatted on mobile-friendly software and be sure that their size isn’t too great. Final optimisation and check up is also recommended.
An extensive menu is not the best idea when it comes to online store and the mobile user using it. Opening a menu with a vast number of categories, sub-sections and sub-pages can be extremely troublesome, confusing and off-putting. Online users like simplicity, they enjoy seeing transparent choices and generally dislike extensive choice-range – which prompts indecisiveness. So, when you design and maintain your website, keep in mind that the structure and overall appearance of the website menu is crucial. Feel free to consult professional web designers (who also comprehend SEO rules) for help. Mapi Media agency is a good example of an agency who can make constructive suggestions